Climate Change and the US Military

The United States Armed Services are a vital and integral part of our nation. The United States defence budget alone is $846.6 billion, the second largest expenditure in our federal government’s expenditures right after social security, which boasts a whopping $1 trillion. US military spending is greater than the next nine countries combined. Clearly the US values it’s military, as they are thought to be not only our fighting force, but relief effort. The United States military takes pride in assisting those that need aid like from disasters. With climate change acting the way it is currently, the world is seeing an increasing demand for support as several places are being ravaged by hurricanes and earthquakes. In such a short time span, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria have all come to wreak havoc on Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. While there are people that doubt climate change’s existence, our President included, the Pentagon and the Department of Defence, see the looming perils of climate change. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis even noted that climate change is a “driver of instability” with the weather patterns destabilising regions and feeding into conflict. While the US military strives to assist the devastated states and islands to recover from the disasters, some military bases are already experiencing the negative effects of climate change. Naval bases by the waterfronts are experiencing hundreds of floods a year due to rising sea levels, and, according to calculations, these bases could be entirely submerged by the year 2100.

The military has already taken steps towards fighting climate change as they have been raising their naval bases, employing early storm warning systems, and utilising solar energy and other green, more efficient energies other than fossil fuels. Much of the country’s emissions come from the military and the production, and as a result, they seek to reduce that amount and help the planet. Climate change is happening all around us and needs to be handled. With just a mere three foot increase in sea level, would potentially threaten over 128 military installations, costing us over $100 billion.

While much of our efforts have been helping Texas and Florida recover from the hurricanes, Puerto Rico has not been so lucky. With Hurricane Maria striking a week ago, Puerto Rico still faces no power, no food, and is devastated. With FEMA’s response to Puerto Rico, the US military is now preparing to send over ships and aircraft in efforts to evacuate and help relieve the situation. Several C-17 and C-130 and C-5 aircraft from different bases are flying over to bring aid as well as Navy hospital ships are being sent over to aid. The US military knows how to aid those in need, particularly from disaster and recognises the global issue of climate change that could severely affect us and the next generation unless we do something about it.

 

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